Thoughts on Solomon

Solomon, the wisest and wealthiest man to live, drifted from God. His egregious behavior included building altars and temples for idols. Because of Solomon’s disobedience, God split Israel, preserving for Solomon’s heirs only a portion of the kingdom on David’s behalf.

Solomon’s story terrified me as a child. How was it possible to be so wise and still choose false gods rather than Almighty God?

What I later learned was that Solomon’s abandonment of God started with something no one around him may have noticed. It certainly was no different from the kings in neighboring nations. His wayward act? He amassed a standing army—horses and chariots and men. The problem was, this build up was against God’s law, recorded in Deuteronomy 17:16.

As follow-up to this initial departure from God’s plan, Solomon accumulated wives, particularly foreign wives, also prohibited in Deuteronomy. But with this disobedience, he fell victim to the very thing the passage warned about—the foreign wives would lead him into idolatry.

Solomon’s slide away from God is a classic example, given to us for our instruction. Certainly the central point is obedience, but David was no paradigm of adherence to God’s law either, yet he experienced God’s forgiveness. Why not Solomon?

The easy answer is, he was not repentant. Like King Saul of an earlier generation, his response to God’s judgment upon him was an effort to escape the sentence, although the last chapter of Ecclesiastes seems to indicate he did come back to God. Still, his father David’s reaction, when he was confronted for his sin, was humble submission.

But what led to Solomon’s stubborn rebellion? I wish I could point to chapter and verse that explains it because then I would know what to guard against. What I suspect is that Solomon’s heart belonged to what he acquired. His great army became his protection against invasion. His great wealth became his hedge against famine. His foreign wives became negotiating chips for his spreading influence. He had political savvy, glittering wealth, and unstoppable power. Why would he need God?

Ironically, God told Solomon He was giving him riches and honor (I Kings 3:13) to go with his wisdom. And still, according to what Solomon himself wrote, he claimed the credit. “I collected for myself silver and gold … I provided for myself male and female singers … I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me.” (Ecclesiastes 2:8-9)

No mention of God, of His promise to pour out blessings on Solomon.

Apparently, long before Solomon built the first idol temple to appease his foreign wife, before he himself started worshiping these false gods, he had set himself up—in his own heart, at least—as God’s rival.

Now that sounds familiar. “In the day you [Eve] eat from it [the tree of the knowledge of good and evil], your eyes will be opened and you will be like God.” – Satan

This post is an edited version of one that appeared here in March, 2008. No kidding. I really have been blogging that long, and this really is one of my early posts.

Published in: on February 26, 2019 at 4:44 pm  Comments (18)  
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18 Comments

  1. A good reminder of what not to do. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, in all the times I’ve read that passage, I hadn’t thought of it as claiming credit that belonged to God. I thought Solomon was confessing his bad decisions, but you’re right, God did promise him those things.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Becky, it is quite clear that the Biblical narrative is wrong.

    King David and Solomon presided over a great empire in the Old Testament. And although Christian tradition fought long and hard to retain that myth, archaeological and historical investigation have comprehensively shown that there was no such great empire.

    Almost everything about King David and Solomon and their empire is exaggerated to such as extent that it is best to consider the entire edifice to be legend and myth, except that for a while, King David did rule over a sparsely populated and disparate Judah.

    http://www.humanreligions.info/did_king_solomon_exist.html

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    • Steve, have you not learned that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence? Israel was conquered and plundered. Evidence of the wealth of the Golden Era kingdoms has been scattered to other places. But of course the “wailing wall” that still stands in Jerusalem is evidence of the restored temple. And the Israelites, who have figured out how to excavate parts of Jerusalem that have long been unavailable to them, are uncovering all kinds of things that confirm their history. I’m afraid, Steve, this is just one more instance in which you’ve allowed your bias to cloud the actual facts.

      Becky

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    • Steve, all the source material in the article to which you linked proves this point from 2014:

      In recent decades, some archaeologists and Bible scholars have argued that David and Solomon were minor or mythological leaders and not the major rulers depicted in the Bible. But the discovery this summer of six clay seal impressions—or bullae—from the 10th century BC indicate significant administrative activity at a remote outpost at Khirbet Summeily near Gaza, on the ancient border between Judah and Philistia. The bullae are the latest in a series of discoveries that support the existence of a major Jerusalem-based kingdom in the 10th century. (“Biblical Archaeology’s Top Ten Discoveries of 2014” by Gordon Grovier, Christianity Today)

      “Biblical Archaeology’s Top Ten Discoveries of 2014”

      Becky

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      • Here are the facts Becky. You may claim you have read the Bible a hundred times; however it does not make it true. The best you can hope for is for more evidence because nothing has been proven. The site you quoted is the best positive review you will get and those comments are only based on speculation and belief but not on facts.

        https://www.bu.edu/mzank/Jerusalem/cp/DavidSolomonmyth.html

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/solomon_qa.shtml

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solomon

        https://www.livescience.com/62472-lost-biblical-kingdom-remains.html

        https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/MAGAZINE-timna-mines-support-biblical-tale-of-king-david-s-united-kingdom-1.5466612

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        • Steve, I don’t know what you’re talking about. The articles were about archaeological finds that show David’s palace was as grandiose as the Bible says. Sure, you can uncover outdated articles that say otherwise, but the fact is, the most recent finds verify the truth of the Bible. First article you linked to, source material from 2006 and 2003, before the latest find. The Wikipedia article relies on even older sources for the section on arguments against the Biblical description. Second article deals with one archaeological find, which does not address the latest finds to which I linked. Third article contains this:

          This “old house effect” is a problem commonly seen in Israel and at archaeological sites in other countries, the archaeologists said. “Buildings and strata can exist for a few centuries, until they are destroyed, but almost all the finds will reflect this latter event,” wrote Faust and Sapir, noting that archaeologists need to be careful to dig down and find the oldest remains of the structures they are excavating so they don’t miss remains that could provide clues to the United Monarchy.

          In other words, absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence. Makes me wonder if you actually read the article. Same with your final article:

          a preponderance of evidence indicates that some kind of powerful polity did rule from Jerusalem. One of the best arguments is the massive copper production during the 10th century B.C.E., at Timna, three hundred kilometers south of Jerusalem.

          Seriously, Steve, I think your atheist bias blinds you to what these articles say. You don’t want to entertain any information that may cause you to question the validity of your beliefs.

          Becky

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          • “I think your atheist bias blinds you to what these articles say. You don’t want to entertain any information that may cause you to question the validity of your beliefs.”

            No, in these cases I do not believe in hearsay, guesswork or speculation no matter how accurate it appears to be. You will grasp at any straw and claim it is evidence of the Bible and God, without any other thought.
            When the peer reviewed papers are published with a positive claim for the authenticity of their findings I will acknowledge your current speculation as fact.

            Of course regardless of the final result I do understand if you are correct it does give the Bible some credibility, however it does not provide evidence for the existence of a God.

            This is where we differ Becky, you like many Christians are desperate for some Biblical credibility as most of the historical Biblical claims have been proven to not exist or have proven many excavated items to be fake. Therefore I will accept the results regardless because I seek the real truth behind these excavations from scientists, and I have nothing personal to defend or loose as you do. These things take time, possibly decades and undergo many tests because that is how the scientific methods work.

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          • Steve, so you double down on your bias. You said, “most of the historical Biblical claims have been proven to not exist or have proven many excavated items to be fake. ” This is a fabrication you either invented or you copied from some kind of fake news; it has NO BASIS IN FACT. None! You are so ignorant of the latest archaeological finds and apparently you are willfully ignorant because I supplied you with links that would have shown you the truth if you just read them. But just like you won’t read the Bible because your mind’s made up, you don’t even bother to read the material that is readily available about the Bible and history and archaeology.

            And then you have the crazy notion that a “peer review article” will convince you of God’s existence. Again you are asking for physical scientifically verifiable evidence for the supernatural. Why do you not understand—God is outside of time and space. You cannot measure Him. But He can be seen in what He has made, which is precisely what I showed in the blog post about evidences. I know—requires some deductive reasoning and a lot of logic, not the rote, parroted nonsense you get from your atheist books. Steve, just for once, think for yourself! Stop your “talk to the hand” mentality that simply will not entertain thinking that contradicts your position.

            Also, do you intend to make good on your promise to Wally to read the book of John, or was that just a bit of smoke you were blowing?

            Becky

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    • Then there’s this from a Nova article, actually an interview with archaeologist Eilat Mazar:

      It seems to me that Jerusalem at the time of King David and King Solomon was very much like the Bible describes. It was monumental; the constructions were massive. They used the Phoenicians, with their capability and skill, to build the largest structures ever built in Jerusalem: the temple, the two palaces—King David’s and later the palace of King Solomon—and the wall of Jerusalem around these structures. This was a new wall that King Solomon added to the ancient wall of the old Canaanite town.

      Steve, I hope you realize that the “facts” you have believed are in error, and I’m talking about more than just Solomon and his kingdom. You’d be wise to study for yourself and not take the word for those who presuppose some position and then try to peddle their lies to others.

      Here’s the link to this Nova article: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/palace-king-david/

      Becky

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  4. This is something we all have to be continually be on guard against. It can happen to anyone of us and as soon as we think it can’t is when it’s already happening.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “NO BASIS IN FACT. None!”

    Noah’s ark. Claims that remnants of Noah’s ark have been found have been repeatedly refuted.

    Inscribed pomegranate. In 1979, an archaeologist announced the discovery of the inscription “Belonging to the Temple of the Lord Yahweh, holy to the priests,” but this was later found to be a recent forgery.

    James ossuary. In 2002, an Israeli antiquities collector announced the discovery of a chalk box with the inscription “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus,” but this was shown to be a recent forgery.

    Jehoash tablet. Also in 2002, a Jerusalem researcher announced the discovery of a black stone mentioning of Jehoash, a king who ruled in Judah from 836 to 798 BCE, but subsequent analysis found that the lettering and patina were artificially created.

    Tomb with bones of Jesus’ family. In 2007, the announcement of the finding of a tomb with the bones of Jesus’ family was subsequently rejected by knowledgeable archaeologists.

    Gospel of Jesus’ Wife. In 2012, a scholar announced the discovery of the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife,” but this has been criticized by scholars; at the least, additional analysis will be required.
    Just a few examples of fakery.
    http://www.sciencemeetsreligion.org/theology/bible-archaeology.php

    This is a good read, it appears to be a non- biased site.

    https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/MAGAZINE-is-the-bible-a-true-story-latest-archaeological-finds-yield-surprises-1.5626647

    This one is also very good and seems to be reliable.

    Do not ignore them and take your time Becky I think you have had your head buried in the sand for too long, or do you think that this is a conspiracy and the scientists are liars?

    “And then you have the crazy notion that a “peer review article” will convince you of God’s existence.”

    Sorry Becky, but it seems you misread what I said, “Of course regardless of the final result I do understand if you are correct it does give the Bible some credibility, however it does not provide evidence for the existence of a God.”

    “God is outside of time and space. You cannot measure Him.”

    That is so very convenient, so how then can you know he exists, apart from him being “real” inside your own mind?

    I have read John.

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    • Sorry, Steve, your examples are meaningless because you said, “most of the historical Biblical claims have been proven to not exist or have proven many excavated items to be fake.” Most, not a few. You have not in any way given evidence that most of archaeological finds are either fake or prove the history of the Bible wrong.

      OK, Steve, I guess I’m still not understanding what you mean when you say, “Of course regardless of the final result I do understand if you are correct it does give the Bible some credibility, however it does not provide evidence for the existence of a God.” What final result?

      Steve, I wrote a whole post about how we can know God exists. Here’s the short version of it, with a couple added points. I also took out revelation because I know that is meaningless to you.

      1) Even single cell organisms contain complex parts. Complexity requires a complex designer.

      2) The existence of language, including DNA coding. Suggests a communicating originator.

      3) Genetic code, a “set of rules.” Laws of nature exist. Mathematics exists. Requires an ordered source.

      4) Human ability to recognize and appreciate beauty. Suggests a designer.

      5) Coherence in the big philosophical issues such as What is truth? Why are we here? Where did we come from? What is our destiny? Science gives no meaning to life and no explanation for why we even ask these questions.

      6) Morality. Humans have a sense of right and wrong. Fair and unfair. Truth and falsehood. Requires a moral designer.

      7) Evil. How could humans know evil if good does not exist? The world is not neutral and not homogenous. God explains this, not science.

      8) Worship. The nearly universal sense that there is a spiritual force or forces at work in the world. Far from “no god” being the default position history bears out that “there is a god” is the default position. The question then becomes who is he and does he matter?

      9) Joy. C.S. Lewis in _Surprised by Joy_ explained this far better than I ever could. The idea is that at times something seems so perfect—so beautiful, moving, uplifting, peaceful, “right”–that we simply want to capture it and stay in that moment for always. He identifies this as “joy.” But in fact the sense of perfection is fleeting. Nevertheless, it shows us that there is something more. And if we experience the taste of more, it’s likely we were made for more, God being that “more.”

      10) Eyesight. If eyesight were a product of evolution, a sightless creature would have had to simultaneously evolve by growing eyes and by developing the brain function that would translate the light into something meaningful. Belief in a designer is far more plausible.

      11) Hearing. Same with ears and the development of brain function that translates vibration into sound.

      Finally, if you’ve read John, give us your critique.

      Becky

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  6. I do not appear to be able to post a comment at your site for some reason.

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    • Steve, WordPress puts your comments into moderation when you include so many links. That’s something spam email often does. I pulled your comment out and will look at it later.

      Becky

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      • Thanks Becky, I did not know that.

        Like

  7. Oh I can now:
    “most of the historical Biblical claims have been proven to not exist or have proven many excavated items to be fake.”

    Yes this is a fact Becky.
    “Just as there is no point in claiming that biological or physical evidence “proves” that evolution is false (as creationist and intelligent design writers are prone to do), when in fact the consensus of peer-reviewed scientific research holds otherwise, similarly there is no point in trumpeting “archaeological evidence” as confirming some biblical event or figure, when such evidence is either non-existent or considered highly questionable in peer-reviewed biblical studies literature. Indeed, the field of biblical archaeology is replete with claims and findings that were later discredited, so considerable caution is in order.” (sciencemeetsreligion.org)

    https://edition.cnn.com/2018/10/22/us/bible-museum-fake-scrolls/index.html
    https://members.bib-arch.org/biblical-archaeology-review/31/2/15
    https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/.premium.MAGAZINE-dead-sea-scroll-fakes-abound-and-scholars-admit-they-share-the-blame-1.6600900
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relics_associated_with_Jesus
    https://www.forbes.com/forbes/2008/0519/140.html#31962e373300
    https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/artifacts-and-the-bible/moabite-stone-mesha-stele/

    How many examples do you want of fakery Becky?

    “What final result?”

    I am saying whether the excavations of King Solomon’s palace are classed by science as bonified or not, does not establish there is a God, but does establish some truth for the writer of the Biblical account.
    “1) Even single cell organisms contain complex parts. Complexity requires a complex designer.”

    Absolutely wrong
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/03/24/the-creators-of-the-first-synthetic-life-made-a-cell-with-just-enough-genes-to-survive/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f63ab25f31a5
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/7745868/Scientist-Craig-Venter-creates-life-for-first-time-in-laboratory-sparking-debate-about-playing-god.html
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07289-x

    How many examples do you want Becky?

    I can also rubbish many of those other claims you make, but that will be for another day, along with my critique of John.

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